The Nikkei reports that Lithium Energy Japan (LEJ), the joint venture between GS Yuasa Corp., Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (earlier post), will soon begin construction on its factory in Kusatsu, Shiga Prefecture. The plant is slated to go online to coincide with next April’s start of production of Mitsubishi Motors’ i MiEV plug-in electric car.
The plant will initially produce about 1 million palm-size lithium ion cells a year—enough for 10,000 vehicles. An additional investment of more than 10 billion yen is planned by 2012, adding a second plant and doubling output.
Lithium Energy Japan had initially intended to make batteries for the equivalent of 2,000 vehicles a year at GS Yuasa’s main plant, in Kyoto, for a wide range of customers. But Mitsubishi Motors then raised its output target for the i MiEV in response to higher demand, prompting the venture to build a separate plant to supply the automaker.
In June, LEJ also reached a basic agreement with PSA Peugeot Citroën in June to supply the automaker. (Earlier post.)